Leadership Advice From Dot-Com Crash Survivor Dr Joanna Berry

Dr Joanna Berry is one of the rare breeds of women who have managed to combine a career in academia and business. 

She currently occupies two positions – associate professor in entrepreneurship at Durham University Business School and the North East chair of the Institute of Directors. 

Joanna was heavily involved in the dot-com era with running a successful production business which saw rapid growth and won countless international awards. Unfortunately, when the dot-com boom crashed, her company was sucked down with 1000’s of others across the UK. 

“Failure isn’t fatal. You will make huge mistakes. Bad things will happen to you that you can’t control. Both teach invaluable lessons. Neither will kill you.”

As Joanna was one of the FL National Awards & Summit winners, we caught up with her to find out more. 

How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today?

Career is a verb as well as a noun: I did lots of different things before I got to where I am now, but I am only halfway through, room for lots of ‘careering’ yet!

Did you have role models early in your life? How did this relationship impact your career?

My mum. Trite but true – as a young female doctor 50 years ago, she had to be three times better than the rest of her cohort. 

What advice would you give a new employee going into a leadership position for the first time?

Get to know your team. Surround yourself with the right people. 
Listen, really listen to them. 
Have a clear strategy and implement it without favour but in full knowledge of your team dynamic. 

What do you think are the essential traits of successful leaders today?

Listening Skills – The ability to listen to team members, to customers, to leaders in other areas is vital.
Collaborating – cross-fertilisation of intelligence is critical to successful innovation and (professional and personal) growth. Intellectual barriers limit your vision and that of your organisation
Clarity of voice – be able to articulate, clearly, succinctly and frequently, your vision and strategy to any stakeholder or interested party. 

Your favourite quote? 
 “…difference is not in the creature judged but the creature judging”. 
I like this because it reminds me that whenever I have an opinion about someone or something, my opinion says more about me than them. 

Did you enjoy reading this article? 
Do you know other inspirational female leaders like Dr Joana Berry?  
Put them forward for an award and let us give her the recognition she deserves. Nominate here.